SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

City of Angoon is Closer to Having an Airport


December 22, 2016
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaska Department of Transportation Commissioner Commissioner Marc Luiken met with representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Federal Aviation Administration at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in September to tie a ribbon around the Final Environmental Impact Statements (FEIS) for Angoon Airport.

With the publication of the FEIS and the subsequent Record of Decision that was signed on October 21st, design will begin on the new airport to serve the City of Angoon which is the largest community in Alaska without a runway.

jpg City of Angoon is Closer to Having an Airport

City of Angoon
Photo courtesy Angoon Airport EIS

Efforts to build an airport in Angoon date to the late ‘70s, but the current project began with a new Reconnaissance Study that was completed in 2003, followed by a Master Plan, and the EIS that began in 2007. The process that culminated in the FEIS required substantial efforts to coordinate and negotiate with federal resource and permitting agencies concerning a process – ANILCA Title XI – treading a path that none had been down before.

The Alaska Department of Transportation covered a lot of uncharted territory, sharing a significant learning experience with the federal agencies. The collaboration that resulted in the acceptance of the ANILCA application as a complete document and provided a preliminary analysis will be a useful study for future efforts and a valuable result of the process.

DOT&PF is now able to move forward with building an airport for Angoon, a long desired transportation improvement for the community. The DOT&PF requested both funding and approval for the proposed airport from the FAA.

The FAA Alaskan Regional Administrator signed the Record of Decision on October 21, 2016 making a decision to approve Airport 12a with Access 12a. Right of Way acquisition, design, and airport construction will be led by the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. The Airport Alternative 3a location was the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' proposed location.

jpg The FAA Alaskan Regional Administrator signed the Record of Decision on October 21, 2016 making a decision to approve Airport 12a with Access 12a.

The FAA Alaskan Regional Administrator signed the Record of Decision on October 21, 2016 making a decision to approve Airport 12a with Access 12a.
Map courtesy Angoon Airport EIS

The proposed project is a new land-based airport and airport access road for the community of Angoon in Southeast Alaska. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is the project sponsor - the party proposing the project.

The DOT&PF would maintain and operate the airport when built. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for the requirements of public use airports and was the lead federal agency responsible for the preparation of the environmental impact statement for the airport.

The DOT&PF proposes to construct the airport and a portion of its associated access road on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service as the Admiralty Island National Monument and Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area. Alternative locations for the proposed airport and access roads are also considered in this EIS.

The community of Angoon is the only permanent settlement on Admiralty Island, a large island located about 55 miles from Alaska’s capital, Juneau, and about 700 miles southeast of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city and home to many state agency offices. Angoon is an incorporated city with a democratically elected city government. It has no land-based airport, nor any roads to any other communities. Residents and travelers can reach Angoon only by floatplane, boat, or the Alaska State Marine Highway ferry system

The 2010 Census count for Angoon was 459, and most residents are Alaska Natives. The community is small and has few commercial services. The economy is based on commercial fishing and hunting and local government employment, and many residents live a primarily subsistence lifestyle. The Angoon Community Association is the federally recognized tribal government in Angoon.

The community is located on a peninsula surrounded on the north and west by Chatham Strait and on the east by Favorite Bay. Beyond Favorite Bay, and to the south of the peninsula, Angoon is surrounded by the nearly one-million-acre Admiralty Island National Monument and Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area. This means that private, state, or municipal lands on which to build an airport were extremely limited. The environment is characterized as temperate rainforest.


On the Web:

Angoon Airport - Documents, detailed information



Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Sources of News:

Alaska Department of Transportation

Angoon Airport EIS



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